North Dakota

Power Hungry

I was thinking recently about the tech companies needing huge data centers: the Googles, Microsofts, Yahoos, Limelight Networks, and Akamais of the world. These businesses depend on reliable sources of energy to stay operational and really need to worry about natural disasters affecting the ability to offer their online services.

If you think about it, California is probably the worst place to have a data center right now. High energy consumption sometimes means unexpected power outages, while the conditions are set for a massive earthquake along the San Andreas Fault – an event that would case very big problems along the California coastline.

So while companies have already started setting up new data centers in other locations, I suggest they take a good look at the Bismarck area of North Dakota. Here’s why:

  1. We have plenty of inexpensive land to build on (especially when compared to what you’ll find on the west coast)
  2. There are seven coal-based power plants nearby
  3. The Garrison Dam and power plant upstream provides another source of reliable electricity
  4. We’ve got a lot of wind, and a growing wind energy industry
  5. Major natural disasters are pretty rare in central North Dakota. No earthquakes or hurricanes anywhere near it, no river flooding (thanks to the Garrison Dam), and historically, very few tornados. Winter weather would be the biggest issue, and that’s pretty easy to deal with and plan for.

So, you should at least take a look at North Dakota. Sure, it might not be the most exciting place to live, but when you’re talking about a data center, isn’t that what you want?